One-third of students are comfortable with eBooks, according to a recent study.

One-third of students are comfortable with eBooks, according to a recent study.

Barnes & Noble has joined the growing list of companies and organizations giving college students electronic alternatives to their pricey textbooks with the book retailer’s free NOOKstudy software that could save students 40 percent at the bookstore.

The NOOKstudy software will be usable on PCs, Macs, the Apple iPad, and, of course, the Nook when the program is released in August. More than 500,000 free eBooks will be available through the software, according to the Barnes & Noble web site, including some texts that might be required for college students.

Barnes & Noble will partner with learning management giant Blackboard in its NOOKstudy launch, allowing students who use Blackboard’s online learning platform to buy and read texts available in the NOOKstudy library, which will be stocked with more than 1 million eBooks in all.

Students will be able to highlight passages, take notes, and search for those notes in NOOKstudy eBooks, according to the Barnes & Noble announcement.

Campus officials said NOOKstudy marks another way students can trim their ever-growing textbook bills with downloadable tomes accessible on a range of devices. College students spend $800 to $1,100 a year on textbooks, according to government and industry reports. The cost of books has tripled between 1986 and 2004, rising more than 5 percent every year…

Read the full story on eCampus News.